Sun Dogs and Sunbows

pic of sundogs pic of sundog pic of sundog

The pictures above were taken on 14 May 2005 from my back garden with a Nikon D70 digital SLR.

Sun dogs are patches of glowing light forming on either side of the Sun, when it's low on the horizon and shining through ice crystals. You can also get a Sunbow, a rainbow-coloured arc or circle surounding the Sun. Part of this one can be seen in the two pictures.

You need to be extremely careful pointing any optical equipment near the Sun, as there is a risk of permanent damage to your eyes. In the second picture, the Sun is well off the right hand edge of the image. In the first, the Sun is behind my garage roof. Even so, the glare from the sun is very bright.

This is the first time I've managed to photograph a Sun dog. I photographed a Sunbow once with my cheap digital camera, but the result was unsatisfactory. This time I had a better idea what to do, and a better camera.

The first picture below was taken in Kirkintilloch on 19 January 2008. The building in the foreground is St Mary's Church. The second is of Lesmahagow Old Parish Church, photographed on 10 February 2009. In each case the sunbow is quite faint, and may not be easy to see depending on how your monitor is adjusted. The second picture is actually a composite of two pictures, one with the sunbow correctly exposed and the church as a silhouette, the other with the church visible but the sky white. (The human eye can cope with the wide range of brightnesses, so the picture is reasonably close to how it looked in reality.)

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The two pictures below were taken in my garden on 13 January and 11 February 2009 respectively.

I also have pictures of Moon dogs and a Moonbow - click on the link below.

Main page | Moon dogs | Astronomy page

pic of sundog pic of sunbow